Rick Peterson is not one to sit still. The Mets closed a door on him in June, but windows of opportunity are opening everywhere that involve his love of pitching, teaching, keeping athletes healthy and transferring his motivational skills and analysis into the business world.
Peterson has two fascinating projects going strong. One with a New Jersey company called Spring Lake Technologies and another with U.S. Athletics Corporation, run by Bill Henderson, whose widely successful background includes time spent in Navy special warfare operations.
"In the East they write in symbols," Peterson says of his philosophy of life in the dining room of his Jersey Shore home. "The symbol they use for adversity; they interchange the same symbol for opportunity and I now have opportunities that are consistent with my life's work."
The former art major also has had time to rediscover his love of painting and drawing.
"I can't take credit for it, it's a gift, and actually I've abused that gift because for many years I really haven't gotten into it," he explains, showing his drawing of Tom Glavine as Glavine was in pursuit of his 300th victory.
U.S. Athletics has partnered with Dr. James Andrews to bring Andrews' American Sports Medicine Institute biomechanical analysis of pitching deliveries to the amateur market. In addition, the portable lab can be used by major league teams, offering stunning data that breaks down a pitcher's delivery and red-flags any problems.
"I've never seen anybody as passionate about pitching as Rick," says Henderson, who was a professional pitching coach and has a business background in aerospace and defense. "There's not a lot of structural information out there that allows these kids to learn the proper mechanics. And as Andrews said, 'The seeds of injury are planted at a young age and they sprout in high school and college.' "
Several major league teams have shown interest, Peterson says, and with good reason. He notes that there was "$330 million" worth of pitching on the disabled list in 2007.
After Peterson was fired by the Mets, Billy Wagner and John Maine both wound up on the disabled list.
The longtime pitching coach says it's prehab instead of rehab. The amateur market is screaming out for such information. Too many pitchers at all levels are seriously injured because of improper mechanics, insufficient conditioning and the inability to maximize rotation power.
It's all about the pitching process Peterson calls the "peak performance triangle" - fundamental skills, physical conditioning and mental toughness.
"We will be able to give you a pitching analysis that can give you linear and angular measurements of the delivery," Peterson says, "making sure that there are no red flags that would lead to injury. That would be the diagnosis, and then we would give you the prescription of what fundamental skills, drills to do, throwing programs and a conditioning program, coupled with mental and emotional skills."
Peterson will be taking the lab to the IMG Academy in Sarasota, Fla., to do 3D analysis of amateur pitchers and the Jack Cust Academy in New Jersey.
"This program is based on all the science and research of Dr. Andrews," Peterson says. "It's based on a program with my involvement with the Oakland A's and the New York MetsNew York Mets ."
He adds it's also based on the study of Hall of Fame pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson and what made them so successful.
"This is Dr. Andrews' body of work, he had the vision to open up this lab because he wanted to prevent injuries," Peterson says. "Here you have a guy who makes his money by doing surgeries, and he wants to do research to prevent injury."
Peterson notes this technology can be brought to major league teams in spring training.
"We can bring the lab to a covered mound, and we can get analysis of everybody in the entire organization, major league and minors, if a team had that interest," he explains, noting marker-less analysis is just around the corner.
There is a 3D lab and a 2D lab. "The 2D is for people who throw 80 miles per hour or less," he says. "The 3D analysis is for your higher-end amateur market and professional players."
His work with Spring Lake Technologies includes measuring 20 behavioral competencies as it relates to peak performance.
"What's lacking in the business world is coaching education for the sales leaders," Peterson explains. "It's simply fascinating data."
It always is around Peterson, who adds, "In God we trust. All others must have data."